Friday, June 09, 2006

Could you pass me the nine iron?

Did you hear that? In case it wasn't loud enough, that was the glorious sound of me breathing a huge sigh of relief (with angels singing in the background). I've been an intern at Golfweek magazine for officially one week now, and I'm finally sure that I'm on the right path. Despite the fact that I have become painfully aware of my limited golf knowledge, I genuinely enjoy working here. I'm even thinking about learning how to play.

Currently, we're working on a special issue that will be available in September, featuring a college golf yearbook. It's going to cover all NCAA men's and women's golf teams, and we're writing articles to highlight each one in the top 25. There's only one other intern, so we definitely have our work cut out for us. This week we compiled lists of colleges, rosters and phone numbers. Next week we're calling all of the coaches to confirm the information we have. Sounds easy enough, but that's around 500 different people to contact. Hopefully my sanity will remain in tact. It's going to be an interesting summer...

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Usually I'm excited around this time of year. Classes are out, the sun is shining and the pool is calling my name. Usually. But not this time around. Instead I find myself drenched in a puddle of my own nervous sweat. And believe me, the unpleasantness that goes along with this stretches far beyond the obvious physical discomfort.
The beginning of summer means the beginning of a long haul of responsibility. With only one semester to go, I am starting to realize all of the things that go along with graduating. The thought of building a career seems incredibly frightening right now. Thus far, I've delayed actually developing any kind of plan. I don't have the answers. I'm nowhere near being prepared to be on my own. There are so many things to consider. What if I don't get a job right away? What will I do about insurance? Where am I going to live? The amount of pressure I'm feeling is insane. I'm not even sure I know what I want to do specifically.
This minor freak-out has led me to a major realization. It's finally time for me to grow up. I need to learn to make decisions and figure things out for myself. I can't just coast along anymore. I have to make things happen. Hopefully it's not too late.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Adjusting to deadline: harder than previously thought

As I enter my fourth or fifth week (the weeks begin to run together) of broadcast senior semester, I must admit something: it ain't as easy as it looks.

Never before, in all my schooling, have I experienced the intense pressures of trying to meet deadlines such as the ones that face me now.

During semesters past, we would have two -- or even three -- weeks to turn one story package. Two weeks! While those were semesters of learning, even still, that was a lot of time to produce a 1:30 package. Looking back, I could have produced a Dateline-like show with that amount of time. Two or three days we would spend shooting video, another two or three getting our interviews, five to seven writing and two or three days editing our package.

Now, it's more like two to three hours shooting video, tracking down, setting up and interviewing subjects. Then, I have about 10 minutes to go through 20 minutes of b-roll and logging good bites. Then, if I'm lucky, I'll have 45 minutes to write a script. By now, it's 2:45, and my producer is yelling, "Graeme print to video!" And I yell back, "Umm ... I'm just sitting down to edit, but I promise I'll have it on tape by show open." (And by show open I mean in 45 minutes).

I've missed deadline twice during our beginning weeks, and it's a let down. I promise you will get discouraged. You will say you're not nearly as talented as you thought. And, you will probably want to quit. But, do not. It gest easier. It just takes time. I'm actually beginning to see a faint, though almost nonexistent, light at the end of a daunting hall (or haul).

There's no great ending or some enlightening advice to my story, as what I just described is where I am.

But, I can say this: get ready for a huge change when walking into senior semester. I also suggest (if anyone has actually read this far) to challenge yourself if you're still in 326 or 434. Challenge yourself to getting a package done in two days. I think that's fair. Of course you will have more time, but if you begin setting personal deadlines, things will be much easier for you when you arrive to the pseudo-working world of senior semester.

Good luck!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Good Internship Opportunity in Jacksonville

2006 Summer Internship Program

The Florida Times-Union is soliciting applications from college students for its annual summer intern program. Internships may be offered in one or more of the following areas: copy editing/design, graphics, photography, reporting.

Applications for internships must be received by December 1, 2005. Interns who are selected will be notified on or before Jan. 1, 2006.

The intern program extends through the summer months, and exact dates of employment will be negotiated. Interns may expect to be in the program for about 12 weeks.

The salary scale is as follows:

  • Completion of first year of college - $350 weekly.
  • Completion of second year of college - $380 weekly.
  • Completion of third year of college - $410 weekly.
  • Completion of fourth year of college - $420 weekly.
  • Completion of graduate school - $440 weekly.

Interns will draw a variety of assignments. Meetings will be held with various editors to discuss problems and progress. Every effort will be made to match summer work assignments with the interests of the interns selected to work on the staff of the Times-Union. Preference will be given to Individuals who have held summer internships with daily newspapers in the past and individuals proven interested in a career in print journalism.

Applications must be made in writing and should include grade point average, previous journalism experience and at least two references, one from within the academic community. Clips of past work should be included with application. It is not necessary for applicants to be majoring in journalism, but that is desirable. Interns must have their own vehicles.

We are a drug free workplace.

Send applications to:
Cindy Holifield
Newsroom Resources Coordinator

Florida Times-Union
PO Box 1949
Jacksonville, FL 32231

Or for delivery requiring a street address:
Florida Times-Union
One Riverside Avenue
Jacksonville, FL 32202

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

New York Times merging newsrooms

I've also posted this on Common Sense Journalism, but I'm reposting it here for the consideration of students and others who may visit this blog:

One of the more significant items to drop into Jim Romenesko's inbox yesterday was the memo from Bill Keller and Martin Nisenholtz that the New York Times is merging its online and print newsrooms.

It seemed to me there were two very significant quotes:
The reporting and editing staff at the original newsroom is much more at ease with the Web, more eager to embrace it both as an opportunity for invention and an alternative way to reach our demanding audience.

The change embodied in this integration will be gradual but important. For quite a few years now, we've sworn allegiance to the modern-sounding doctrine of "platform neutrality" -- meaning we care only about our journalism, not about whether we transmit it to our audience on paper or via streams of electrons. But in practice most of us have been writing and editing newspaper articles, or taking pictures or making charts and graphs for the newspaper, while a few of us have been taking this work and adapting it for the Web.

By integrating the newsrooms we plan to diminish and eventually eliminate the difference between newspaper journalists and Web journalists -- to reorganize our structures and our minds to make Web journalism, in forms that are both familiar and yet-to-be-invented, as natural to us as writing and editing, and to do all of this without losing the essential qualities that make us The Times. Our readers are moving, and so are we.
Read that last one carefully. The debate still exists in some quarters as to whether journalists really need cross-media training. End of debate. If you want to work for the one of the premier news organizations, as Keller and Nisenholtz put it, you'd better start rorganizing your mind.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Making it happen

Today marks the eve of my first full work week at Fox News Channel in Washington, D.C., on "Special Report w/ Brit Hume." And what an experience it's been. There are several things I've learned while at Fox. The first is that network news is that much different from local news. The most obvious is the immensity of a network bureau compared to a local shop. The pace and intensity of work for national news is, to say the least, intense. If you don't know what you're doing, people quickly become disgruntled. But, that's when you keep pushing and never take it personally. As disgruntled as these overworked employees become, they're equally as willing to help you learn--that is, when they've turned their package du jour.
Another crucial element to surviving as an intern is that you MUST ask to do things. There are, of course, the occasional yuppie employees who make it their mission to teach you the ins and outs of the news business... which is great. But, the bigger dogs want to see initiative, and quite frankly, as my boss put it today, "seeking out cool and interesting things for the interns to do is not on the top of [their] list." He intended no malice, and none was taken. His philosophy: ask and you shall receive. Once you do ask, you will receive, and you will learn. Hopefully, that's what I've been doing.
A couple of interesting facts from the broadcast aspect of things:
1. Almost all editing is still done tape to tape. Their reason: if Fox upgrades to all digital, they're afraid the technology will have changed so much within three years that they'll once again be "out of the loop." One of the chief editors told me that convergence is inevitable. That means all "packaging" will be done from your desktop, eliminating the need for the conventional editor. I assume all those bays will become mini-starbucks.
2. Reporters don't go "out in the field." Much, anyway. With most of the major events, speeches, press conferences and breefings all on live feeds, the reporter can sit back in his or her office, collect the pertinent news and write their script. I don't mean to belittle the role of the reporter, but it's true that a lot of the work is done in-house and with the help of field producers and videographers. I think that takes some of the fun out of the biz.
To steal Mr. Hume's tag line: That's the report from Special Report this time... I hope you come again next time, and in the meantime, stay tuned for news fair, balanced and unafraid.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Intern's woes

A college student's column in a Massachusetts paper last week lamenting how she thought she was a shoo-in for an internship at Spin magazine -- only to be rejected -- has prompted some sharp responses on Romenesko's letters page.

My own take on this: She was just a little presumptuous to begin with. What do our bloggers think?

(On another matter: Thanks for the kind note, Ernie, but you've been a big part of this, too. Let's say we do it again next year and try to get the posts up.)